Thursday, 25 October 2007

Longing for a Pisco Sour

Phew, it’s been a tough week. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done at the moment. I’m working furiously to get through everything before I go off on my hols to Chile in a couple of weeks, but my ‘to do’ list keeps getting longer.

It’s my own fault. I made the mistake of warning people that I’ll be out on holiday in a little over 2weeks so now people are stopping by my desk, smiling sweetly at me and asking, ‘oh but could you just do this project before you go?’

I need to learn how to keep my big mouth shut!!

Unfortunately the whole department is swamped with work at the moment, since, on the plus side, we’ve been fortunate enough to have already met our financial targets for the year. Unfortunately the picture is not so rosy company wide, so there’s a hiring freeze, a company wide hiring freeze, which means our department’s had to absorb a lot of the additional work and hold off on recruiting new staff. It’s not been the most popular decision I can tell you. The team has been slaving away morning noon and night and morale is at an all time low. There’s only so long people will put up with working until 10pm everyday.

I raised the morale issue to my manager at our status this week, and he in turn raised it to our head of department at the directors meeting later the same day. My manager suggested arranging team drinks as a thank you for everyone’s hard work. Unfortunately our head of department was extremely reluctant, saying he felt it was inappropriate when the rest of the company is not doing well. He then went on to brush off the heavy workload as temporary, saying, “I’m sure it will only be for a few more months.”


Ha! Take us for granted much!!

So, let me get this straight, we’ve beaten our revenue target for 2007 by 20%, got the extra work done, despite being 6 people down, and he won’t even take the team out for a beer? Meanwhile, across the hall, his co-head of department seemingly finds the money to whisk his group – albeit a smaller team - out for dinner and karaoke shindigs!! Hmph!!

I was ready to jump across the table and give him a slap in the director’s meeting, but reminded myself I have a vacation to pay for and Christmas presents to buy, so I restrained myself, but I was fuming at his attitude. The man is an idiot!!!

Why is it that senior managers in marketing agencies never think to apply their marketing expertise to the experiences of their staff? They’re always pontificating to clients about how it costs 5times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, but do they apply that to their own staff? No, of course they bloody don’t. It would certainly cost his nibs a lot more in recruitment fees to replace even one of the most junior staff members, than it would to buy an appreciatory round of drinks for the whole department, a small, relatively inexpensive gesture which would go a long way in boosting the morale of the team.

Whatever! It would serve him right if everyone quit.

On top of work stress I'm also starting to get a little freaked out this week about the fact that done precisely bugger all to prepare for my upcoming trip to Chile in exactly 2weeks, something that I'd pushed to the back of my mind until an email from Melissa – my travel buddy – landed in my inbox this week.

We booked our flight to Chile about 3months ago and it's a trip I've been interested in ever since I was bitten by the South America bug following a trip to Buenos Aires in 2004. By the way if you’ve never been to Buenos Aires I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a gorgeous city, it’s inexpensive and the people are lovely, although of course they had their fun with me ribbing me about Las Malvinas and Diego Maradona and the hand of God from England vs. Argentina game of the 1986 world cup.

Unfortunately flights to Chile weren't quite as cheap as they were to Argentina, in the vicinity of $1200 over the last few years, and I’d sort of given up on going any time soon, but then something made me look again this year and would you believe it, we got a flight for $680. It was so cheap by comparison to previous years that it made me a bit suspicious, but all seems above board, so I guess we just got lucky.

As part of the trip we’ve been investigating popping down to Patagonia to see the Magellanic penguins and what not, but when we looked into booking the 3hour flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas – apparently the world’s southern most city – it was close to $700. Yes, more expensive than the flight from New York!!! It turns out that you can get cheaper flights, but you tend to have to be in Chile to do it, so we’d resigned ourselves to sorting it out when we arrived in Santiago. That is until Melissa sent me an email on Tuesday saying she thought she’d found a travel agent in Chile that would allow us to book online in the US and the flight would be $300!! Happily we booked it yesterday, which kick started my excitement for the trip. I’ve started trying to refresh my memory of the 2years of Spanish I took in high school, oh a mere 18years ago. Re-learn Spanish in two weeks, that's feasible right?

Last night I set about looking for a hotel room in Punta Arenas…and um….oopsie….no rooms available!! It’s high season and Patagonia is BOOKED!!!


It looks like we may well have to resort to camping out with the penguins. Hmmm these chicks look nice and fluffy, do you think they'd make a nice pillow? :-)


Valley Girl said...

I am so jealous! I totally need a vacay!

Flowers said...

why do the big cheeses never understand that small gestures can make a world of difference?!

undo others as you would wish to be undone..didn't jesus say that? obviously not but wasn't it something less filthy but along the same lines?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Valley Girl, hope you get to go somewhere fun soon. Vacations are so necessary for our mental health I think. Have a great weekend. F

Hey Flowers, you are totally right, it's the small things and management often seems to lose sight of that. Have a great weekend. F

Mousie said...

Ooh,I'm so jealous! Have always wanted to visit South America. If your travel buddy ever lets you down...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Mousie, thanks for stopping by. I can highly recommend South America. I adored Buenos Aires. You should definitely go if you get the chance. Best, Fish

Amel said...

CUTE penguins!!!

I can't believe your head of department! He sucks!!!

HURRAH about getting cheap tickets!!! ;-D GOOD LUCK in getting a hotel room he he he...Plus HAVE FUN!!!!

AWWW...those penguins look SO CUTE indeed, but I think they'll be a tad smelly to be made pillows he he...

Heather said...

It is amazing, isn't it, that executives won't practice what they preach or advise others to do..."your most important constituent are your own employees...validate them, keep them loyal and wanting to work hard for you...blah blah blah." Easy to say, hardly ever done. And I'm going to venture a guess that the boss who axed the "thank you beverage" is probably NOT one of the people working until 10pm....just a guess.

On the flip side, your vacation sounds fantabulous! I can't wait to read all about it!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, I think you are right about the penguins - they probably don't smell so great given their fishy diet. Thankfully we've managed to find a spot to lay our heads.

Hi Heather, you are right, Mr Bossman isn't working until 10pm, but even if he were I don't think it would change his tune. He LOVES his job and is happy to slave away and doesn't understand why someone else might not think that way, how they might want...oooh...say a life outside of the office. I am sooooo looking forward to my holiday. Tel Aviv is loaning me his fab camera, so I hope to have some pics to post.

alcoment said...

It's as if management forget what it's like to actually work on the front line, so to speak. It's the same in mental health, the bosses sit in their ivory towers and make all these decisions and forget what that actually means for the people who have got to carry them out!

But, your holiday sounds great! I hope you have a great time, sounds like you need it!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Alcoment, you are absolutely right, I think that's exactly what happens. It's no fun for us minions. Thanks for the good wishes for the hols. I am sooooo excited about it now that it's only a couple of weeks away :-)

Amel said...

GLAD to hear that!!! ;-D Always good to find a nice place to sleep he he he...